It was only after I got back from a long walk out to The Peacock, having gathered a box-full of sloes and with a thirst for G&T, that I discovered in Richard Maybe’s ‘Food for Free’, sloes for making sloe gin are best “after the first frost”. Oh well, I wouldn’t want to see them go to waste, so here is what I did with them…
I started by pricking the skins of each sloe with a skewer (a painstaking task with 750g of the things) to mimic the effect that the frost has in breaking the skin open. This will help the gin soak through the sloes and draw out all the flavour.
Next I added to the sloes half their weight in caster sugar, and gave them a stir round and a few minutes to get to know each other better.
I then half-filled some sterilised bottles with the happy couple, finally topping up the bottles with gin and giving them a good old wrist-wiggle.
This is what they look like immediately after, with sugar still dissolving:
And this is what they look like after 2 days:
I’m hoping these guys will be ready in time for Christmas, and I now can’t wait til the first frost so I can make a few more bottles – they’ll make fab (and cheap) Christmas prezzies! We saw loads of blackthorn trees (and plums, damsons, hawthorns, blackberries etc) on the way out through Kings Norton and Wythall, so pretty confident we can find enough to do several more bottles.